The History and Origins of Bermuda Shorts

The History and Origins of Bermuda Shorts


Bermuda shorts have become a staple in warm-weather wardrobes around the world, but do you know the fascinating history behind this iconic garment? In this article, we will delve into the origins and evolution of Bermuda shorts, tracing their roots back to the British military and their adoption by Bermudans and tourists alike. So, let's embark on a journey through time and explore the story behind these tailored shorts.  

The British Military and the Birth of Bermuda Shorts

Contrary to popular belief, Bermuda shorts did not actually originate in Bermuda. The genesis of these fashionable shorts can be traced back to the British military stationed in tropical British colonies, including Bermuda, during the turn of the century. The sweltering heat prompted the officers to seek relief from their traditional long trousers. Consequently, they decided to cut off the bottom halves of their pant legs, creating a more comfortable and breathable alternative.

Adoption by Bermudans and Tourists

The innovative style of these shortened trousers quickly caught the attention of Bermudans, who embraced them as a local fashion trend. The relief and comfort offered by Bermuda shorts were so significant that suits were even sold with the short pant option instead of the traditional long pants. As British and predominantly East Coast American tourists flocked to the island, they too became enamored with the stylish shorts. Embracing the British army and Bermuda businessmen's tradition, these visitors often paired Bermuda shorts with high socks.

The Rise of Bermuda Shorts in the United States

In the United States, Bermuda shorts were initially reserved for leisure activities. However, in the 1950s, some towns and universities actually implemented bans on wearing shorts, considering them inappropriate attire outside of sports or recreation. These restrictions, however, did not deter the growing popularity of Bermuda shorts.

Liberation in the 1980s

By the 1980s, societal taboos surrounding shorts had all but dissipated, and Bermuda shorts became widely accepted as casual and fashionable attire. The shorts underwent a transformation, shedding their association with strict dress codes and becoming a symbol of relaxed and leisurely style. The trend of wearing Bermuda shorts spread across the globe, with people embracing their versatility and comfort in warm weather.

Modern Interpretations of Bermuda Shorts

Today, Bermuda shorts have evolved to suit contemporary fashion tastes and preferences. While the traditional pairing with high socks has waned in popularity, Bermudans still maintain this tradition. In other parts of the world, people have adopted a more casual approach to wearing Bermuda shorts, often opting for no socks or no-show socks.

Finding the Perfect Pair

If you're looking to add Bermuda shorts to your wardrobe, there are a variety of options available. American sportswear brand Peter Millar offers a wide selection of Bermuda shorts in various fabrics, styles, and colors. Founded in 2001 by Chris Knott, the brand has become synonymous with quality and style, providing fashionable options for those seeking the perfect pair of Bermuda shorts.


The story of Bermuda shorts takes us on a journey through time, from their humble origins in the British military to their adoption by Bermudans and their subsequent popularity among tourists. These tailored shorts have transcended their military roots to become a symbol of casual elegance and comfort. Whether you choose to embrace the traditional style or opt for a more contemporary interpretation, Bermuda shorts are a timeless addition to any warm-weather wardrobe.

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This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.